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QA: John Schneider on Tyler Perry, the Dukes, God, and his Dad

  • Catherine "Daisy" Bach, Tom "Luke" Wopat, John "Bo" Schneider and The General Lee.AP

John Schneider will forever be known as the lovable Bo Duke from "Dukes of Hazzard," but the 53 year-old Mount Kisco native has a new gig starring in Tyler Perry's OWN show "The Haves and the Have Nots." Schneider spoke to FOX411 about Perry, the Dukes, his personal relationship with God, and the portraits of him taken after he heard his father died that went viral.

FOX411: So are you the only white guy on 'The Haves and the Have Nots?'

John Schneider: (Laughs) No, there's my wife and my son and daughter. It is the most fun I've had since when I started Dukes. I think because of the way Tyler does the show. We shot 20 episodes in 18 days. It's insane, "Dukes" took 10 months, "Smallville" took 10 months, "Dr. Quinn" took 10 months, everyone takes 10 months. Tyler takes 18 days. It's kind of like standing in an airplane and someone pushing out your parachute and then pushing you out and saying, 'Try to catch your parachute and good luck!' It's a tremendous challenge, intellectually because you've got 35 pages of dialogue to shoot in a day. It's true that that which does not kill you makes you stronger. I'm loving it, it's like a great workout.

FOX411: What's your character like?

Schneider: He's a son of a bitch. It's so much fun to play a character like that. I'm from New York, I'm 53, I have my moments when I'm a nice guy, and more frequently I have my moments where I'm a middle aged aggravated person. For years I was always the nice guy, so in life I had to pretend to be the nice guy. Now when I get aggravated somewhere people don't hold it against me. It's therapy to a certain extent as well. I get to say incredibly hurtful things all week so I don't feel the need to do that at Home Depot anymore.

FOX411: And "Dukes" keeps on going.

Schneider: We had a 28 share a week and then it went away and then it came back and it came back a third time and a fourth time. This morning I signed a 2014 calendar. We're still signing things 35 years later. There's no "Barney Miller" calendar, there's no "Mork and Mindy" calendar.

People said that everyone could watch that show, but yeah, everyone could watch "Little House on the Prairie." There was something in "Dukes" and still is where if you were three, we were like a mobile in a crib, if you were 10 and rode a bicycle or you were 16 and just got your learner's permit or you were a grandparent and remember the Uncle Jesse good ol' days, it was something every demographic did watch and enjoy. It's not the most wholesome show in the world with the bars and the cars and the fights. It just had a little bit of everything for everyone and there's a trick to that.

FOX411: By the way, do you get some change for those calendars?

Schneider: Some, occasionally. I'm sure not nearly what is owed but that's a whole other story.

FOX411: Doesn't that drive you nuts?

Schneider: Oh God yeah. It's very simple. Here's how many we sold, here's what we owe. You'd think it would be that easy. 

FOX411: Could Catherine Bach's Daisy Dukes have been any shorter?

Schneider: But she always wore hose underneath them. He legs were always covered, you just didn't realize that and Catherine Bach somehow managed to be one of the most beautiful and sexy women in the world and yet a total tomboy at the same time.

FOX411: Why did you hate the "Dukes" movie?

Schneider: Because it was irreverent. Uncle Jesse smoking pot and pinching Lynda Carter's ass. I couldn't get over it. The movie made us look like stupid country bumpkins. It was insulting in that regard. It missed on every level except they got the color of the car right because they borrowed mine!

FOX411: You're born again?

Schneider: Yup, it's been a while since I've been to church, but you don't get unborn again. It's been so long I'd rather not go there. I make movies about people who kill each other justifiably, and Christians do not like me that much anymore because I drink whiskey and I believe that my relationship with God is between me and God, kind of a Johnny Cash thing. I'm not a Christian for your benefit. I'm a Christian for my benefit and how I walk my walk is my business, and how you walk your walk is your business. It's kind of a box people put me in. I might have jumped in that box, I might have even built some of it around myself years ago. Things change. I don't care who people marry or what people drink. I care that people are honest and they're not trying to take something away from me that I've worked hard to give my kids.

FOX411: Tell us about the Children's Miracle Network.

Schneider: We're 30 years old. We've raised $5 billion for children's hospitals. They give away health care to parents who can't afford to pay for treatments.

FOX411: Are you concerned you have to raise money for kids cancer treatments so they don't go broke?

Schneider: Well I guess, but what I think there's really something wrong when people who are not from here can get free health care for themselves and their children. That doesn't make any sense to me. Somebody that's working their ass off down the street and they live here, they pay taxes here, and they go broke because they don't have a dental plan. We've got problems in this country that need to be addressed simply by taking care of the people who live here and work hard here. I don't  believe in giving people a free ride. 

Now if you're an American citizen and you have bad teeth, by God we're going to fix them. So many people have dental issues and (need) glasses. My mother is 81 and the things that are not covered for her are the things she needs. I just paid $4,000 for another set of hearing aids for her. Glasses - I don't believe she has any coverage for eyesight or glasses. The two things that go, so of course they're not covered.

FOX411: Why did you have those photos taken of you after hearing of your Dad's passing?

Schneider: I have no idea. During that photo shoot, I heard during lunch break that my father had passed and we were doing the rest of the shoot and some little voice in my head said, 'A tribute you can pay to Dad would be to have your picture taken right now.' When we were done I asked the photographer to take a couple of extra pictures because there was something I needed to get out and he did. He sent them to me and there was never any plan of putting them out. I got a call from the publicist of OWN that the photographer really loved the pictures and would I mind if he put them out with a little story. I thought, 'Oh why not?' and the next thing I knew it kind of went viral. The downside is my Dad passed away in November, and now he's passing away all over again.

FOX411: There is something beautiful about the photos though.

Schneider: Oddly enough there is, because there's agony. I wish in my wildest dreams I could be the actor who is good enough to do what's in those pictures, but I'll never get there.

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